Autumn is my favourite time of year – the changing of the seasons that can be seen in the shifting of the weather, the glorious colours of leaves changing and falling, the abundance that hides in plain sight as berries in hedgerows and fruit on trees. The word ‘harvest’ comes from an Old English word meaning ‘autumn’. Historically, this period of the calendar year would have been the busiest and most crucial of the year for a community. At a time when farming relied heavily on the seasons to support the growth of crops, this was crunch time. It would be all hands on deck to gather in the yield, with every member of the community playing their part (even children), and the outcome of the harvest would impact the lives of everyone. People celebrated abundance and struggled to survive through periods of famine together.
As a community, here in Sutton Coldfield, there is much to be thankful for – many groups, organisations, individuals who sustain and nurture the life and health of this Royal Town. There is also the reality that areas of community life that once thrived seem to now be failing and this undoubtedly leaves a gap. As individuals, we will have our own stories of needs met and also struggles with un-met needs and unfulfilled hopes and dreams. As a fairly new member of this community, I’m going to be giving thanks this harvest for all the gifts, skills and offerings of time and energy that are ploughed into our shared life here in Sutton Coldfield and I’ll also be taking time to think and pray about how I can play my part in making sure the future is full of good things, shared by all.